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Jan 27, 2003

Rights activists busted for weed, vow to fight

Police continue to make life miserable for Belize’s marijuana farmers. On Friday cops destroyed a plantation north of San Pedro Columbia containing almost three thousand, five hundred mature plants, while on Saturday their colleagues in Orange Walk burned a field twice that big south of San Felipe. No arrests were made in either raid.

Such was not the case in the Stann Creek District, however, as police descended on Hopkins to bust a prominent civil rights lawyer and her politically active husband. On Saturday, Michael Flores and Antoinette Moore were charged with drug trafficking after cops found over a pound of weed on a ten-acre farm they own. Talking to News 5 this afternoon, attorney Moore claimed that the action was a deliberate attempt by police to silence the pair, who have been speaking out loudly and organising demonstrations against police brutality in Dangriga and the Stann Creek District. “This case is not about drugs,” said Moore, “it’s about the police.” She said that she and her husband will fight back vigorously and have retained attorneys Adolph Lucas and Simeon Sampson to defend them. Moore pointed out that they live in Hopkins Village and not at the farm, which is an open and public place frequented by large numbers of people. She was not at the farm at the time of the bust. Flores hosts a thrice-weekly radio show that has been highly critical of recent actions by police. In word just in from Police press officer, G. Michael Reid, he informs us that police have decided not to charge Moore, but will proceed against Flores.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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